McIlroy's magic may not prevent end of the World

 

Rory McIlroy is not only playing for Ireland in China this week, but possibly for the future of the World Cup as well. Certainly, a high-profile win for the young golfing prince would give the 58-year-old competition a better chance of survival.

One of the worst-kept secrets in golf is that, in all likelihood, this will be the final staging of the World Cup in its present guise. The 28 two-man teams (ranging from Australia to Guatemala to Zimbabwe) will play on Hainan Island, with the winners picking up £1.5m. And then a battle will begin to save an event which began as the Canada Cup in 1953 and which, over the years, has been won by the likes of Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods.

"The word is out that this is the end but there is optimism the World Cup can be resurrected at a different venue and with different sponsors – a few people in a few countries are interested," a leading figure in the industry told The Independent yesterday. "But this is a hard climate in which to sell any tournament."

The Scottish Open bears witness to that. Despite holding a prime spot in the calendar – the week before the Open – and despite being guaranteed a lot of the game's best players, the event is without a sponsor and looks likely to be funded by the European Tour in the immediate future. And then? "Where's the money going to come from?" wondered Colin Montgomerie this week. Where indeed?

Back at Mission Hills Haikou, the remarkable 10-course complex which is one and a half times the size of Manhattan, McIlroy, the world No 2, is the highest-ranked member of a field which can be considered more impressive than it has been since Woods and Co turned their back on it at the turn of the century. Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland may be the world Nos10 and 48 respectively but it says plenty about the commitment of the US to the World Cup that this looks one of their stronger duos of late.

England are represented by Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, while the South African flag is carried by two recent major winners in Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen. The favourites, however, are McIlroy and Graeme McDowell – both for the marketing men and the bookies.A win would go some way towards replenishing one set of coffers, while emptying the other.

The Ulstermen finished second to the Italian brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari the last time the event was staged in 2009 and since then they have both won majors and played starring roles in the Ryder Cup. Their confidence is high. When asked who he fancied for the World Cup, "other than yourself and Rory", McDowell replied, "that pretty much covers it".

The 32-year-old McDowell added: "When you see guys like Palmer and Nicklaus have won it, it puts into perspective what kind of event this is. Rory and I are taking it very seriously and we would certainly love this to be on our resume because it is special and we'd be having our names alongside some very special names if we won."

At a price of around 4-1, McIlroy and McDowell are very short odds and a 33-1 punt on the Scotland partnership (Martin Laird and Stephen Gallagher) seems more attractive. Wales are represented by the duo of Jamie Donaldson and the in-form Rhys Davies.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?